Introducing iCloud

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces Apple's internet storage service iCloud during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on June 6, 2011 in California. (Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images)

Q: Is "i-clouds" now operational? Can I transfer the songs on my iTunes account, thereby freeing up that space on my hard drive?

— Joe, via email

A: If you're referring to Apple's iCloud service, it's not available yet — Apple says it's coming this fall.

But iCloud and other services do let you store your music in a virtual storage locker so you can listen to your tunes on your computer or iDevice whenever you want — as long as you have a good data connection. Because your music files are locked away "in the cloud," they don't need to take up room on your hard drive.

Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Music are already available and shows how we all will be listening to music some day. Maybe. Some people will always want their music files on their hard drive, where they can listen to it even if the Internet is down or your phone can't connect to your stored music files.

And just what is this cloud anyway? There are several ways of answering this, but the most simple is that your music will be stored on Apple's (or Google's or Amazon's or some other company's) computers instead of yours.

Have a question about your computer, cellphone, camera or any gadget? Let us know! E-mail Eric Gwinn at egwinn@tribune.com, and you could be featured in an upcoming Gadget Q&A column.